Upgrading to cable modem- what do we need to know?

We are in the process of having a cable modem installed, moving away from the dial-up service we’ve used for several years. However, we’ve heard horror stories about computers being ‘open’ to pretty much everything on the net, and are worried about our security measures.

We currently have Norton Anti-virus professional 2004 running with real-time protection, but what else can we do? Are there any internal settings for our browser (IE) that can be tweaked?

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Just get a good firewall and you’re in business.

When you first download that 500Mb file in a few minutes, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it!

The software that comes with the modem should modify your browser settings accordingly.

Although I’m not anti-Microsoft, I would get Mozilla’s Firefox as a replacement for IE.

Off the top of my head:

Turn off messaging. If the spammers figure out where you are you’ll get tons of those annoying pop up messages.

Go under network properties and disable microsoft file and print sharing.

Get the latest security updates from microsoft.

Make sure personal web server and ftp are disabled.

Oh, and I second the suggestion for a firewall.

router router router (linksys, d-link, netgear. <$50 gets you a great inbound firewall and 4 extra connections to the internet)

firewall firewall firewall (zone alarm from zonelabs.com, free, and has outbound protection, letting you decide which programs get access and which DON’T!)

anti-virus anti-virus anti-virus (and please keep it updated, i’m currently favoring symantec/norton but mcaffee works as well)

spyware remover spyware remover spyware remover (spybot is my current fave, adaware is my No. 2)

update update update (windows update that is. close your firefox once a week and use IE to do this: tools>windows update)

Don’t click anything INSIDE a pop-up window, just click the ‘X’ in the right uppermost corner of the window to close.

XP service pack 2 just got released yesterday, lots of goodies to keep you safe included. Especially the pop-up blocker.

If you have more than one computer in your home, spend another fifty bucks and purchase a router. This device fits between the cable modem and your computer and allows you to plug more than one machine into the big fat pipe you have to the Internet. In addition to giving you the ability to attach multiple machines, routers also provide a hardware firewall. This is definitely a plus and allows you to enable such things as file sharing between machines while still keeping them protected from the bad guys.

It has been a long time since I wired my machines up, so I’m sure that the way to go these days is wireless (more $$$, though). You will definitely enjoy the freedom if you can hook up a wireless router to the cable modem and then put wireless network cards in your machines.

Oh yes, I agree with everyone else – install a good software firewall such as Zonealarm (it’s free).

(On preview, I see that da_pope already hit the router.)

I agree with everyone else, get a good firewall- I use the free version of Zonealarm, and it works great.

Also, switch your browser ASAP to Firefox or Opera. Using Internet Explorer means you are just begging for someone to hijack it. Also, once you get used to tabs & mouse gestures, you will wonder how you ever managed to get by with IE back then.

Make sure get spyware cleaning programs like Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy; my sister got a broad band connection recently, and after just a month of web browsing (with IE, of course) she had over 400 things of spyware on machine.